Friday, March 5, 2010

A topsey turvey first morning

There are two things I’ve come to expect during the opening session of Division III Nationals – upsets and raucous crowds. This morning did not disappoint.

At the close of the morning session Coe College is in the lead on the basis of bonus points (3 falls and 2 majors) and two extra matches – consolation pigtails. Augsburg may be tied for second with Wartburg, but you’d have to consider them in the driver’s seat with all nine of their wrestlers advancing to the quarter finals. Right now their fans appear also to be leading the volume contest.

Two first seeds and two second seeds dropped into the consolations. Top-seeded Josh Terrell from University of Dubuque was pinned by Justin Barowski of Delaware Valley and number one ranked heavyweight, Mark Corsello of Elmhurst, was knocked into wrestlebacks by Jon Schmidt of UW Whitewater. Lloyd McKinney of UW La Crosse topped Wartburg’s number 2 seed, Mark Kist, in an exciting match that saw both wrestlers press the action. Cornell’s second-seeded Nicholas Loughlin fell to Iowa native Dan Twito of the Merchant Marine Academy.

I’ve also gotten accustomed to seeing friends at “DIIIs” – and occasionally having to root against them. Dee Pollard’s son, Joe, is an assistant coach at The College of New Jersey. Dee comes to Nationals every year to support her son’s team and we have become friends. This morning the Lions’ heavyweight, Ed Broderick, was matched up against Coe’s Mitch Sander. Sander won and I watched from afar as Dee suffered through the loss.

Gordon Flam was a faceless “friend” out there in the Ethernet until last year. He started reading my blog on myspace and we’ve swapped a lot of messages over the past few years. I met “Gordy” last year when he came to Cedar Rapids to cheer on his nephew, Matt Baarson of St John’s and came to my fan reception. Matt won this morning and will face Coe’s third-seeded Nick LeClere in tonight’s quarter finals. I’m afraid that I’ll be pulling for LeClere.

The first two head-to-head matchups among the three top team contenders will be tonight at 165 where Wartburg’s second-seeded, Carrington Banks takes on #7 Orlando Ponce of Augsburg and at 174 when Augsburg’s two seed, Zach Molitor, faces Coe’s Seth Rehn.

The Cedar Rapids Convention and Visitors rolled out beautiful, sunny, mid-forties weather for the fans. The coaches and wrestlers did their parts to make this a beautiful day by giving us a lot of action and excitement.

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